This weekend I did the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was my second time running this race. I ran it as my first half marathon in 2011. The morning did not start out great. Upon driving into the Coastal Grand Mall, where the race was to start, it started raining. I ran the race with my running friends Becky & Shelly, and we had running support services from my wife Jennifer. After Becky, Shelly, and I used the bathroom, we decided to go back to the truck to get out of the rain. About 10 minutes before the race, the skies cleared and we had no rain from start to finish for the race. The corrals were full, so we just waited in the parking lot near our expected pace flag, and fell into line as the corrals began to flow through the start chute. The race started promptly at 7:00 AM. Because of the rain, it stayed nice and cool at 61 degrees, and 82% humidity. Shelly and I ran together, with a goal to just finish under 2 hours (finished in 1:58:37). Becky set out to PR, and boy did she! She finished at 1:43, beating her previous PR by almost 3 minutes.
The race is pretty flat except for climbing one small hill (overpass) around mile six. The race is a very large rectangle. The first 6 miles are on Robert Grissom Blvd. and then you go over a small overpass onto a frontage road, and turn onto 62nd Ave. North. We cross over Kings Highway and turn right onto Ocean Blvd. which we travel on for another 5 miles. While on Ocean Blvd., we pass Plyer Park on our left, which is where the finish is near the beach. After passing it, we continue down Ocean Blvd. another half a mile, and then make a quick turn to the left, and onto the beach boardwalk for the final half mile. This last portion is serpentine, so you will make a lot of turns. The finish is great and has a lot of energy, with fans on the left and the Atlantic Ocean on the right. At the end they present you with an awesome surfboard medal. The finisher support included water and numerous snacks to munch on. There were plenty of water stops, which had both water and Gatorade. However, be prepared that once you turn on Ocean Blvd., you will go about 2.5 miles before you hit a water stop. Other than this placement, the water stops were placed appropriately. It was a really easy race to run. Here is the Garmin data from my watch.
I did a GU 15 minutes before the race, and then GUs at miles 4, 8, and 11. This worked extremely well.
BEST RACE SIGN OBSERVED: You are running better than our Government!